Oh, No! It's
A Referee Decision!
Friday, February 26, 2010
The gold comes rolling in for America! Or DOES
it? Let's see what the officials say. It's Day 15 of the Vancouver
• Before I say anything else, did you
see the U.S. beat Finland 6-1 in hockey this afternoon? Not only
was the game great, but those announcers are awesome! A good
time was had by all. Well, unless you're Finnish.
• Greetings, Olympic buffs, says
Bob to open the show. He's talking to me!
Tonight we start on Whistler Mountain with the Men's 4-Man Bobsled.
The United States 1 sled is nicknamed "Night Train" by
driver Steve Holcomb. Which night train is that? The Guns
'n' Roses version? The James
How about Marvin
Berry and the Starlighters? The public wants to know! Regardless,
first (at least in Tape-Delay-O-Vision), so let's see how they
A new track record! Well, that's a good
• There doesn't seem to be as much
slapping in the 4-man bobsled as there was in the 2-man. I don't
have any theories for this.
Analyst John Morgan points out that once the starting
light goes green, the sleds only have a minute
so maybe four people slapping each other just takes too long.
• BOOM! The Russian sled flips over
halfway up the course and its riders slide the rest of the way
down the course on their heads. They pass the finish line and
since they're all still in the sled, the time counts, but they'll
Jay Leno stars in a commercial for the Tonight Show where he pretends
to have a lifelong passion to be a curler. One of the funnier
parts of the ad is when a non-curling-talented Leno misthrows
which then knocks over a figure skater from behind. Impossible!
Jay Leno would never attack someone's back!
• Off to another part of Whistler for
the Women's Slalom in Tape-Delay-O-Vision.
• Germany's Maria Riesch and Lindsey Vonn like to spend some quality
time together off the slopes. This fluff is only a minute-and-a-half
long, so we don't learn much. They both like to shop! Shocker.
• The fluff, of course, leads up to Maria's first slalom run. First
place! Again, shocker. I'm not saying that NBC set it up like that,
just that Riesch is actually a favorite in this event.
couple of skiers later, Lindsey Vonn. AAA! Just moments after Christin
Cooper tells us about
Vonn's chaotic year she misses a gate!
I guess fluff is only good for one person.
The next U.S. skier is Sarah Schleper who starts this race with
her "lion's roar." Roaring like a lion is only good for
ninth place. You need to get some individual fluff, Sarah!
Cris Collinsworth is going to talk to us tonight about Apolo Ohno.
Oh wait! Ohno himself is going to talk about Ohno. In his own words,
Apolo describes what he calls the "perfect" race, his
gold medal in the Men's 500m in Turin. At least we don't have to
listen to Cris talk about it, but it's still fluff.
• Quarterfinal one of the 500m features
Canadian Charles Hamelin and U.S. skater Simon Cho. Hamelin qualifies,
but Cho doesn't have
the speed and finishes third in a race where only the top two advance.
Quarterfinal two has Ohno and some other
skaters who won't matter. WOW! Two skaters go down and Ohno jumps
them to keep going!
The other two quarterfinals have no Americans
in them (leaders here if
you're interested), but they do have some amazing camerawork.
The slow-motion shot of Lee Ho-Suk making a pass was particularly
• Next up on the ice is the Women's 1000m quarterfinals. This is
a big night if you're a short track fan. Not that I'm a coach or
anything, but I'm noticing a pattern here. Earlier we were shown
a graphic on how many more medals the Koreans have won in short
track than any other country. The Koreans almost always hang back
in the pack until the last few laps, and then they make their passing
moves. The results seem pretty obvious. I'm surprised more countries
don't try this.
• The lone American in this
event is Katherine Reutter, who is trying to be the first U.S.
woman to win a short track medal of any color
since 1994 Games in Lillehammer. Any color? That doesn't even
seem possible, does it? Yet it is. She wins her quarterfinal.
• Over to Speed Skating Team Pursuit.
Or rather, over to a recap of it. Bob gives us a little explanation,
but not enough for my
tastes. The way I understand it, there are two teams of three
skaters each racing on opposite sides of the speed skating oval.
Hicks and Dan Jansen kind of give away the ending when they tell
us in advance that the U.S. team led by Chad Hedrick beat the
Dutch team led by Sven Kramer, who increasingly seems to be the
angriest skater in the world.
NBC then shows us the footage for
the last minute of the race, which includes Sven getting angry
at his coach again. This wasn't a medal round, we're told afterwards.
I get the distinct impression that NBC was caught off-guard
by the Americans beating the Dutch skaters and didn't know what
to do with this story.
• And now the Men's 500m semifinals. Ohno isn't in the first heat,
but we do get to see Cris Collinsworth interview Apolo's father.
• Ohno's heat is next. He starts in second. Drops to third. Two laps
to go, still in third. A Korean falls down! Last lap! He moves
to second, NO! FIRST! WOW! Ohno went from third to second on the
first turn, and from second to first on the last turn. Don't retire,
• Back to the ladies for the 1000m semifinals. Did Australia get
their short track uniforms from the Tron
• Katherine Reutter's race false
starts twice, and analyst Andy Gabel tells us that it's like
in baseball, when a pitcher must come to
a complete stop before he pitches. Interesting. Could a short
track skater advance to the next round due to a balk? Reutter
And now some interview fluff with Canadian figure skater Joannie
Rochette. Most of the interview is predictable, given her mother
dying and her winning the bronze medal. However, Bob does sneak
an interesting fact in there, when he finds out that she learned
English in part from her mom making her watch "Scooby Doo." Zoinks!
Back at the short track, the Men's 500m "B" final. Really,
• The main event! The Men's 500m
final stars Ohno, but also features Korean Sung Si-Bak, and Canadians
Charles Hamelin and Francois-Louis
Tremblay. Ohno might be the popular choice, but this isn't going
to be a gimme. You can bet the crowd is going to be pulling for
a gold-silver Canada finish.
And here we go! Ohno starts in fourth.
Three laps to go, he's still in fourth. Korea's Sung passes up to first with
two laps left. Last
lap! LAST TURN! Apolo tries to pass! Two skaters fall! Apolo
in second! Hamelin in first!
But wait!! The officials are talking...
OH, NO! Ohno is disqualified! Officials claim that he pushed
Tremblay on that last corner, so
he's been DQ'ed. Psh! Canadian officials decided that Canadian
skaters got pushed? Hmmmmmm...
• Back in time and back to the mountain for the second run of the
Women's Slalom. Again Schleper roars, but again she gets ninth
place. Given that she was the highest placing American, my guess
is that from now on we're only going to see the winners.
Steve Porino does a neat demonstration with the slalom poles at
the race. Volunteers on the course are wiping the snow off the
poles after each skier goes by, but if they don't, says Porino, "they'll
do this," and he bangs the pole against the camera, showering
the lens with water, similar to how it would obscure a skiers goggles.
• Live-ish Cris Collinsworth with Apolo Ohno. Ha! Apolo thinks the
Canadian ref might have something to do with it, too! One of the
advantages of this being his last Olympics is he can say things
like that without worrying about future officials taking it out
• We see four other racers at the
Women's Slalom. The first, Susanne Riesch, Maria's sister, misses
a gate and is out. The other three,
including Maria, all medal. Told ya! By the way, I'm so confident
that I know how NBC thinks, I wrote the previous sentence before
Maria made her last run. Of course, had she fallen, I would have
deleted it and you never would have known, so that's really not
that impressive, is it?
• Let's see if an American woman
in a race without Canadians will be allowed to medal. We're back
for the Women's
1000m final. Wang Meng of China is the big favorite in this one. Sure enough,
she wins, but
hangs on for silver, winning the first
short track medal
an American woman in 16 years. Now we're all Reutter rooters!
• Oh yes, it's Ohno! He and the
rest of the American team are competing in the madness that is
the 5000m short track relay final. In this
case it's even crazier because there are five teams instead of
four, because France was advanced from the semifinal round. You
didn't remember that? Me neither. I had to look it up.
Anyway, this is a long race, so with 44
laps to go, I'm going to make a sandwich, knowing that no ones
going to make a move until the last ten laps or so, anyway.
enough, with 10 laps to go, Canada starts to try stretch their
lead. Six laps to go: Canada still waaay out in front. Four
laps to go: the U.S. still behind. Here comes Ohno. Two laps
to go! Ohno's in but the U.S. drops to fourth! LAST LAP! AAAA!!
Ohno stretches out right at the end to get the bronze and knock
China into fourth! Man, this sport is awesome. Canada gets
another gold medal tonight. At least no one's
going to take away America's bronze.
• Back to the
4-man Bobsled, with US1 currently in first place.
The US2 sled goes first. It's
on its record best speed and-- OHH! It flips over! They still
cross the finish line so technically they could still medal.
You know, if everyone else in front of them flips over, too.
I don't know whether or not this is fluff, but
Steve Holcomb's teammate shows us "The Holcky Dance." It was a
play off of Holcomb's name and "The Humpty Dance." For future
reference, you really don't ever
want to see men dressed in bobsled tights limp
to the side like their leg was broken, shakin' and twitchin'
kinda like they was smokin'.
Holcomb and US1 finish the second round
with a new track record AGAIN and finish in first place! Good
for them! Let's hope they don't dance for joy.
• It's time for the "Oh, Canada"
sing-a-long for Charles Hamelin's 500m gold medal. He sings but
while he's doing it. You just won a gold medal, Charles, be happy!
• And now, LIVE
to hockey, where Canada has a 3-2 lead over Slovakia with just
2:30 left in the game. Apparently, Canada was up 3-0
early and has let the Slovaks back in the game. One minute left:
an empty net for Slovakia! THEY SHOOT, THEY-- don't score. Which
means it will be the U.S. and Canada in the final on Sunday.
So, the other day I checked Stubhub
for gold medal hockey tickets and they were $2,700 each. How much
are they now that Canada is confirmed as a finalist? Let's check!
$4,700 a piece? This is why I watch on TV.
Back in the studio, Jimmy Fallon has brought an audience with him
so he can do his Olympic-themed "thank
you notes" bit in an NBC self-promotion moment. Okay,
it's funny, particularly Bob fake-playing the piano. I've got to
is a great straight man. The best part is that Bob can keep a straight
face through all of this while Fallon keeps laughing. I'll even
admit that I laughed throughout. But it's still fluff.
Is this the last we see of Ohno? I hope not,
because he's a blast to watch. But the way he seems to be burning
referee bridges behind him I can't see much of a future. Only two
days to go. Let's hope they're good ones! See you tomorrow!